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Fangraphs: TB Drops the Face of Framing


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More of a piece on the market worth of framing.

According to Baseball Prospectus, Molina?s three-year average has been about +25 runs by framing. There?s no reason to think that skill?s due to collapse. Molina?s being paid to be worth about four runs better than replacement. If you take Molina?s 0 WAR projection, and if you assume +25 framing runs, and then if you consider that no one took Molina, that means the league doesn?t think he?s worth even 16% of his framing value. If you instead put Molina at -0.5 WAR for next season, and then follow the same steps, that means the league doesn?t think he?s worth 34% of his framing value. Teams passed Molina completely over, at his modest salary.
And there?s the matter of replacement level. What is a replacement-level catcher? How good are they at receiving? Consensus is that basically every organization has its catch-and-throw guys who aren?t able to hit much. The Padres added Rene Rivera for free, and he was always considered a defensive specialist. Chris Stewart has floated around, easily acquirable. The Orioles plugged in Caleb Joseph this past year after Matt Wieters went down. The Mariners dug deep to find Jesus Sucre. Let?s say that each organization has one or two or three alleged defensive specialists. Those guys won?t be able to hit well, but the perception will be that they could come right up and start stealing strikes, so if you take someone like Jose Molina, maybe he?s not worth 25 runs more than a theoretical defensive replacement. Maybe the gap is half of that. Maybe it?s less? So, if teams wanted a framer, they could conceivably stay internal.

If in this day and age the market is acting like Framing doesn't have the value it is purported to have, odds are good it doesn't.

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If anything I thought the the Rays paid too much for Molina at the time based solely on his pitch framing. The guy is 39, out of shape and literally had no other skills other than pitch framing. even his other defensive skills were questionable. He was a disaster waiting to happen (and did), yet some very smart people still gave him a 2 year 4.5 mil contract. The guy just finished with a negative 2 WAR in less than 40% of the teams innings. Even if you're framing runs at a 25 run rate you're gonna be running a negative with what Molina just did.

1. Jose Molina was quite unique, if not unparalleled, in his ability to throw out such a high rates of efficiency in pitch framing. The article seems to be leading you to to think that other Jose Molina's are just out there to exploit this efficiency. They are not imo.

2. Also, "averaged 25 runs over the last 3 years" is misleading imo. He had one abnormally high year which may lead that count/rate to looking abnormally high in that 3 year period. If you were to look at his average "rate" (not count) I'm pretty sure it is below 25 runs for his career.

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